As the 2015 Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP), organized by National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) kicks-off in Abuja, a participant, Mr. Bokolo Olisaeloka has called on the Federal Government to increase budgetary allocations to NICO to enable the Institute improve on the programme.

Olisa made this call while speaking in an interview with NICO News on Monday, 3rd August, 2015 at the end of the first class for the 2015 language programme, saying NICO needs financial support in order to take care of logistics that will give the programme a facelift.

While commending NICO for organizing such a programme, Olisa who disclosed that, as a Nigerian, he had has always wanted to learn another language other than his mother tongue in order to relate fluently with them, said he saw the opportunity the Institute had created for him to achieve that and cashed in on it.

His words: “It is very needful for us to be able to traverse the divide of ethnicity. I think we should get to know each other better and language is an avenue to get to know other people, their culture and tradition. That way, we will get to believe more in unity because when you understand someone from his language point of view, you get to understand him more and relate with him better.”

He therefore called on other Nigerians to also come and learn at least a language other than theirs in order to be able to relate better with others, saying it is what every Nigerian needs to do.

Another participant who spoke to NICO News, Mr. Ekome Abraham of the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre, Abuja, said for him, the language programme is in line with the goals and objectives of his organization, which attaches great importance to Nigerian languages.

He said the language programme is important in the sense that it will make people to realize that there is a need for us to preserve our culture: “Our languages are said to be going extinct and that is because we Nigerians have a general attitude of borrowing cultures. I think the programme is in line with what I feel Nigerians should boost to the wider society. It is part of our national heritage and we need to preserve it and take it to the next level.”

Also expressing worry over the projection that some Nigerian languages may soon go extinct, Hafsat Umar, a staff of the Centre for Black African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) said it is unfortunate that Western civilization has come to blindfold us saying language is what makes a people unique: “The language is what makes us unique anywhere we go. It also makes us to get stronger as a nation and I think it is something every Nigerian really needs to look into.”

While commending NICO for organizing the programme, she however called on the Management of the Institute to improve on the programme, especially in the provision of learning materials like handouts for students to further study the languages they have enrolled in and be able to read on their own.

In all, six indigenous languages are been taught to include, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Tiv, Gbagyi and Efik.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja